About Vaṃsa

Vamsa (: वंशम्, IAST: Vaṃśam, is a Sanskrit word that means ‘family, lineage’. It also refers to a genre of and medieval literature in , and . This genre focuses on genealogies. They resemble the conventional histories found in the European literature, but differ as they predominantly chronicle myths and may integrate spiritual doctrines such as rebirths. A vaṃśam can be focussed on a dynasty, family, individual such as a saint, line of teachers of a particular tradition, or a place particularly of pilgrimage. Some of these texts are titled with vaṃśam as a suffix.

Folio from a manuscript of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra depicting Shadakshari Lokesvara

Different types of Buddhist texts & literature

Buddhist texts are those religious texts which belong to the Buddhist tradition. The earliest Buddhist texts were not committed to writing until some centuries after the death of Gautama Buddha. The oldest surviving Buddhist manuscripts are the Gandhāran Buddhist texts, found in Afghanistan and written in Gāndhārī, they date from the first century BCE to the third century CE. The first Buddhist texts were initially passed on orally by Buddhist monastics, but were later .